Online gift marketplace JOI Gifts raises $2.5M Series A

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UAE-based and MENA-servicing online gifts marketplace JOI Gifts has successfully raised $2.5M in its latest funding round. The Series A round was led by Knuru Capital, the Dubai-based VC focused on FinTech and consumer marketplaces, and joined by Dubai-based investor MENA Moonshots and Wa’ed, the entrepreneurship arm of Aramco.

 Launched in 2016, Joi Gifts offers a wide-range online gifting platform across  MENA, allowing users to purchase and send tailored gifts, offering same-day delivery, and enjoy a customized ‘concierge’ delivery experience. The UAE-based startup is a product of Enhance Ventures, a leading venture capital studio that builds online marketplaces that fill gaps in markets across the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan, and Turkey. 

As most recently reported in our August 2021 Venture Investment Dashboard, the E-commerce industry is the third most funded industry in MENA this year, yet also observed funding and transaction growth across geographies in Emerging Venture Markets. Out of the 53 deals in MENA closed in 2021 YTD, observing an 8% YoY growth compared to August last year, almost 48% were closed by UAE-based startups heading on E-commerce through adopting innovations, opening up to FinTech integrations, and creating unique E-commerce experiences in the case of JOI Gifts. 


 


Joi Gifts has more than 20,000 gift items live on its curated platform in five categories: flowers, cakes & gourmet, unique gifts, experiences, and gift cards. Most gifts are available for same-day delivery and are delivered with Joi Gift's premium, concierge-style service unique to the platform. In light of this major investment, Rami Kahale, CEO of Joi Gifts commented “We are thrilled with this investment, which enables Joi Gifts to further enhance and improve what is already the MENA region’s leading online one-stop shop for gifts. We are passionate about providing the best offering for customers in every market we operate in, and this new vote of confidence from our investors gives us the resources to deliver on our quality commitment.”

The announcement of the latest funding round comes at a time of rapid expansion for Joi Gifts, which earlier this year entered its eighth country, achieving operating profitability amid a five-fold increase in sales. According to Enhance Ventures, the MENA region’s gifting industry is roughly valued at  $28Bn positioning the UAE-based startup well into a favorable market. Mohammad AlHokail, Partner at Enhance Ventures highlighted “With Joi’s first independent round of funding, Enhance has successfully spun off Joi Gifts and validated the opportunity for venture building under a studio setup in the region. With its highly capital-efficient structure based on sharing and collaboration, venture studios represent a new asset class that can offer higher returns in shorter time frames.”

This rapid growth represents a significant opportunity for Joi Gifts, which is the first online gifts platform to employ innovations such as augmented reality and uses formally dressed “concierges” to deliver gifts, and if the sender wishes, sing an appropriate song for each occasion. Victor Sunyer, Partner at Knuru Capital stated “We have been impressed by the Joi Gifts team’s focus on growth while staying lean. They have managed to build a business with very favorable unit economics and scaled it regionally with just a seed round of funding. This is the hallmark of a strong team, and we are excited to partner with them on this journey.”

The UAE-based online marketplace plans to use this funding injection to fuel short-term growth through awareness campaigns, customer acquisition, product development and further regional expansion. With high hopes for JOI Gifts Fahad Alidi, the Managing Director of Wa’ed, concluded “The gifts industry is extremely well-suited to the Saudi market, and we see significant potential for Joi Gifts in the Kingdom. With the platform’s strong offering and focus on customer experience, we believe the Joi team is well-positioned here.” 


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